Saline junior Emi Maloney hates ties as much as losses. So when she got her shot to win the game before the final horn sounded Wednesday night, she made no mistake.
Saline and Hartland were tied at one with about 20 seconds left when the Hornets were awarded a penalty corner. Time continued to fall off the clock until there was no time left as senior Grace Livsey set up to play the ball in. Time expired before she did – but as long as Saline kept play alive in the circle, the game continued.
After going 0-for-12 on penalty corners, the Hornets made the 13th count.
Livsey played the ball in to sophomore Erin Reilly, who used a deceptive sweep to pass the ball to the side to Maloney.
“Erin did a deceptive sweep off the to the right. The defensive team wasn’t covering over there. I was able to lift it up in the air. It barely knocked the goalie’s stick and just dropped in right behind her,” Maloney said. “I was so excited – just overcome with joy. We just won this thing with a buzzer-beater.”
Saline improved to 8-1 and kept its winning streak alive.
“I can’t stand losing or tying because it’s not a win. The win keeps our record high, so that was great,” Maloney said.
It was ironic that Saline won a game on a penalty corner – considering the Hornets inability to cash in on penalty corners was the only reason the game was close.
Saline had gone 0-for-12. Hartland didn’t generate a single penalty corner.
Saline finally cashed in when the coaches, frustrated by the team’s inability to score, listened to their star sophomore.
“Erin Reilly called that play. She must have seen something out there on the previous attempts,” coach Erica Reilly said. “Give Hartland credit. They really disrupted what we were doing and they blocked a lot of shots.”
Reilly said that on the winner, everything went as well as it could.
“Grace played a beautiful ball in. Erin made a great move to get the pass over to Emi, who was open. And Emi finished it,” Reilly said.
Saline looked like they might win in a romp early on.
Hannah Jarvie opened scoring with 14:08 left to play in the first half. Reilly had blasted a shot from the top of the circle. Jarvie got to the rebound and backhanded it past the goalie for the 1-0 lead.
Only minutes later, Bridget Skelly smacked one off the goal post.
Saline led 1-0 at halftime. Julia Bentley stopped the only shot she faced.
Early in the second half, Hartland tied the game. Bentley came out of her net to stop a shot. The ball deflected behind her. Bentley and her defense scrambled to get back into position by Emma Donahue knocked it in.
The game remained tied at one until the game’s final sequence.
Coach Reilly said she was glad her team found a way to win, but she said her team would be spending a lot of time working on penalty corners in the coming days.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of options out there. But none of them seem to be working right now,” Reilly said.
Meanwhile, the 8-1 Hornets keep winning despite the season-long absence of star Devin Reilly, who is expected to boost the Saline lineup in the next week or two.
SISU Mouthguard 3 Stars
Emi Maloney – Not only did she score the game-winner, she also made a great play to keep Hartland from clearing the ball immediately before the play that led to the penalty-corner. Great hustle and skill.
Erin Reilly – Credit the Hartland girls for standing in front of her shot even after two of them were hobbled when they were struck. Reilly’s hard shot set up Jarvie’s goal. She not only set up the winner with a great pass that few high schoolers could execute, she called the play. She’s a general on the field.
- Hannah Jarvie – Scored the opening goal and was relentless on the attack all evening.